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Mistake of Law: To Err Is Human

Mistake of Law: To Err Is Human

In a series of cases, the court has upheld searches and seizures made by officers who were mistaken in their understanding of the facts they confronted, or as to the law to be applied.

February 27, 2015

Legal Issues With Body Cams

Legal Issues With Body Cams

Recent events have accelerated law enforcement's timetable for adopting wearable audio-video recording devices. But using this technology has legal ramifications that have to be understood by criminal justice stakeholders.

January 26, 2015

Understanding Fourth Amendment "Standing"
The 5 Biggest Search-and-Seizure Myths

The 5 Biggest Search-and-Seizure Myths

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court made the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule binding on the states in the 1961 decision in Mapp v. Ohio, thousands of published decisions from state and federal courts have applied the exclusionary rule to thousands of searches and seizures. It's no wonder the 50-year tidal wave of exclusionary decisions has left confusion and misunderstanding in its wake. Here are five areas of the law that seem to suffer the most in translation.

November 11, 2014

The 5 Biggest Miranda Myths

The 5 Biggest Miranda Myths

Some myths that have sprouted from Miranda have shown so much inertia that the Supreme Court has had to keep coming back to try to knock them down. Here are five of the most persistent.

October 28, 2014

Vehicle Pursuits and Deadly Force

Vehicle Pursuits and Deadly Force

For the third time in 10 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has given us guidance on the kinds of circumstances that may justify the use of deadly force to stop a dangerous driver.

September 4, 2014

Why You Should Double Check for Accuracy

Why You Should Double Check for Accuracy

Although law enforcement officers are given considerable leeway for reasonable mistakes, you don't get much slack for unreasonable mistakes that result from hasty reactions to bad information that comes from your own official sources.

August 8, 2014

Cell Phone Search Incident to Arrest

Cell Phone Search Incident to Arrest

Just when it looks like a rule is finally refined to the point of general understanding, the Supreme Court takes an unexpected turn, as it recently did on the subject of searching an arrestee's cell phone incident to his arrest.

July 11, 2014

Stop and Frisk?

Stop and Frisk?

Many people who use the term "stop and frisk" fail to realize that there actually is no such concept in the law, and that the phrase "stop and frisk" couples two constitutionally distinct activities that do not necessarily coincide. This misunderstanding is easily traced to the coincidence in Terry v. Ohio.

May 1, 2014

Consent Entry After Refusal

Consent Entry After Refusal

The question of who can give valid consent to enter and search private premises has been the subject of numerous Supreme Court opinions.

April 1, 2014

Reduce Negative Impact of Miranda

Reduce Negative Impact of Miranda

Has Miranda v. Arizona adversely affected criminal justice and public safety? Miranda has resulted in the inability to clear a quarter-million homicides, 1 million rapes, 5 million robberies, and 9 million aggravated assaults.

March 11, 2014

Constitutional Home Entry

Constitutional Home Entry

Private residences enjoy the highest levels of Fourth Amendment protection against governmental intrusion. Here are the 10 most common ways to get inside a home without violating the Fourth Amendment.

February 10, 2014

Chasing Misdemeanants

Chasing Misdemeanants

Some search-and-seizure rules are not very clear, and state and local federal courts might apply them differently. How can you be expected to pick and choose the right rule on an issue for which there doesn't seem to be just one "right" rule?

January 6, 2014

Visual Enhancement and the Fourth Amendment

Visual Enhancement and the Fourth Amendment

What if an object only comes into plain view after an officer shines a flashlight or spotlight into an area, or looks through binoculars? Does this use of sense-enhancing devices make a difference in the Fourth Amendment calculation of reasonableness?

December 6, 2013

Searching “Fleeting Targets”
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